Freedom and maturity

Moshe’s early work in Judo (the legend is that he was one of the first European black belts and helped found the French Judo association) showed him a quality of human action that one might call the somatic reality behind maturity:

The essential aim of Judo is to teach, help and forward adult maturity, which is an ideal state rarely reached, where a person is capable of dealing with the immediate present task before him without being hindered by earlier formed habits of thought or attitude. (Higher Judo, p. xiii)

The posture (or as Feldenkrais named it, “acture”) from which a person could respond with movement in any direction, based on the current situation as it is, and the needs and intentions of the agent, is the mature stance.

This is not posture as your Aunt Mabel defined it. Not about “standing up straight” or “pulling your shoulders back.” In fact, can you catch yourself adjusting how you sit at the very appearance of the word “posture”?

“Acture” is about having freedom to act unhindered by the past or by fixed ideas about how you are supposed to be. It is a dynamic, not a static, state.

Philosophical debates about the nature and possibility of freedom tend to leave out of the equation the kind of creatures we are. Whether we’re free becomes a question about whether anything in the universe can happen outside of the deterministic causal chain that we imagine science tells us exists. But what if we think of being more or less free in relation to our capacity as creatures who may be ignorant and who can learn?

Feldenkrais had one simple and concrete “principle” of freedom. If you know how to do something in three ways, then you’re free. Just one way–you’re stuck. Two–you’ve got an option now, but you’re still caught in dichotomies. Three and you’ve got choice.